The political tide is turning for former President Donald Trump, who once seemed untouchable to challengers due to his large loyal voter base and now faces more criticism from Republican opponents and party leaders.
Since his second indictment, the 2024 GOP candidates who generally refrained from condemning any of his actions — and even avoided saying his name — are now lining up to point out his flaws.
This goes beyond the main contenders, however. Trump’s latest challenge comes from Brad Raffensperger, the Republican Secretary of State for Georgia who he lobbied to overturn the 2020 election results during a recorded conference call Jan. 2, 2021. The call for a hour sparked a criminal investigation in Fulton County, with a charging decision expected this summer.
Trump has frequently attacked Raffensperger at his rallies, including on Saturday when he again described him as a “perfect” call and made unsubstantiated claims about the election. This ultimately led to the Georgia crowd booing Raffensperger.
Now Raffensperger is fighting back. He told WRBL on Thursday that maybe it was time for him and Trump to meet – on the debate stage.
And Raffensperger isn’t too picky about the debate stage. He suggests going to any Republican institute, like the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California, the Dole Institute of Politics in Kansas, or the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Texas.
“We will have a debate,” Raffensperger said. “I will bring a copy of my letter to Congress and I will bring a copy of my book, ‘Integrity Counts.’
He said the former president could bring a report from the two firms hired by the Trump campaign to investigate allegations of voter fraud in Georgia: Berkeley Research Group and Simpatico Software Systems. Berkeley and Simpatico found no evidence of widespread fraud.
“We will discuss the issues point by point,” because the facts are on Raffensperger’s side, the Georgian state secretary said.
It’s not clear – and unlikely – Trump would accept this debate. He hasn’t even committed to debating his 2024 GOP rivals, threatening in recent months to skip the primary debates. His reasoning is partly because he’s the favorite and doesn’t need it, and also because he thinks the places and networks aren’t favorable to him.
Trump on trial: Unprecedented, moving, historic. But will that change anything?
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Brad Raffensperger hits back at Trump attacks